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The court decision “might be part of a broader narrative that Republicans are using to get out the vote, pointing out that the playing field is a little tougher now, that [Democrats] will have an advantage from this decision and [Republicans] have to counter it,” says Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown, Pa.
Polls show that 2 in 3 Americans, and a majority of nearly all demographic subgroups, support voter ID laws. Republicans have already argued in fundraising appeals that Democrats and their proxies going to all lengths to undermine a bedrock American principle – that every vote should count equally – and now may add that courts appear to be taking their side.
“That’s where you have Republicans seeing this as an issue they can push, that having a photo ID handy is not a big deal for Mr. Middle Class Voter, and, secondly, the powerful appeal [of the idea that] … your vote should not be diluted by the votes of ineligible voters,” says Charles Franklin, a polling expert at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison.
But most of the emotional energy in the national debate over voter ID laws has so far been concentrated on the Democratic side, pollsters say. Many Democratic activists are convinced that the spread of voter ID laws into 17 states is less an effort to sanctify the vote and more an effort to help Republicans win at the polls by by shutting out liberal voters.